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Woman Has Tumors Removed From Heart Through its Complete Removal and Replacement

Aired November 15, 2000 - 1:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A woman is listed in good condition today; one day after an operation that involved removing her heart, repairing it, then putting it back.

Correspondent Christi Myers (ph) of our affiliate KTRK in Houston, Texas, tells us about this amazing procedure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTI MYERS, KTRK REPORTER (voice-over): Joanne (ph) Minnich had run out of options. New York doctors had taken one tumor out of her heart.

WILLIAM MINNICH, PATIENT'S HUSBAND: We went to Sloan-Kettering; and at Sloane-Kettering they indicated that we should wait with chemo because the operation -- the first operation that had taken place -- they didn't know whether all the cancer was removed or not.

MYERS: But two more cancerous tumors had grown back, one the size of a lemon.

VIRGINIA MINNICH, PATIENT'S DAUGHTER: Everything was fine. you know, they said 99 percent noncancerous -- and then, all of a sudden, it's cancerous.

MYERS: New York doctors couldn't get to the tumors, which were on the back of her heart. But Houston heart surgeon Dr. Mike Reardon (ph) could. In a rare procedure called an autotransplant, Reardon and a time of specialists at Houston's Methodist Hospital took Joanne's heart entirely out of her body, removed the two tumors and carefully removed any of the cancer that they could find. Then Reardon rebuilt her heart with tissue from a cow's heart.

W. MINNICH: And we have all the faith in the world that she's going to be back next week with us and enjoying life with us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: In all, Minnich's heart was out of her body for 45 minutes. She is the fourth person to receive this -- what's called an autotransplant -- and only the second to survive it.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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